Recycling corks?

by Eve Resnick on November 24, 2008

in General

Recycling, sustainable development, carbon print (lighter bottles to save fuel) seem to be the key words in many industries. Wine is no exception. Consumers recycle their bottles and try to buy wine from environment conscious wineries. They are now asked to go a step further: recycle the corks.

Cork recycling is still experimental but since it’s a good idea, let’s hope it will quickly spread. The world’s largest cork factory, Amorim, launched the ReCork America project in partnership with 25 Whole Foods stores in California for 6 months. It comes in addition to the cork collecting previously organized at Bay Area restaurants and wineries, and resulting in the collection of some 2 million corks.

How can the cork be recycled? According to journalist Jon Bonné, “Wine corks can easily be ground and recycled. They could also be ground and used in compost (though whole corks, says Roger Archey, ReCork’s program manager and publicist, are difficult to compost for the same reason they’re good wine stoppers; they resist water and don’t decompose easily). More likely, the used corks will be shipped back to Portugal by ship to be refashioned into other cork products like flooring or shoe soles. A local recycling option would be better, of course, and ReCork is exploring them, but Portugal’s robust cork industry makes it an optimal destination at the moment. ‘That cork now will become flooring that could last another 20 years,’ Archey says.”

This intiative may even reconcile some consumers who don’t like natural corks. Aren’t those responsible for the infamous TCA and the ruin of great wines?

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